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Uses for terminal strips

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 12/27/2013 to Techniques and How to...


Terminal strips seem such a lowly part of the electrical system that they hardly get a mention normally, but there are a lot of useful things you can do with a terminal strip, here are a few suggestions......




Base of mast connection

One of the most useful places for a terminal block is the base of the mast.  It allows you to disconnect the mast wires for unstepping, if you use some terminal jumpers and a larger feed wire for the negative you can have a single negative wire feed the base of the mast and be used for all the lights.  If you ever have a problem with a mast light you can check for power at the base of the mast, and then you can check for continuity up the mast, through the bulb, and back to the base of the mast.  In fact one of the main advantages of terminal blocks is that the connections are visible and available for troubleshooting


Installing a new electrical panel

If you decide to replace your circuit breaker panel you may find that the existing wires are too short to reach the new one.  The solution is to set up an organized array of terminal blocks at the back of the panel enclosure and take the old wires to there, where they will almost certainly reach.  Then run new wires from the panel to the terminal blocks. This makes for a very convenient and organized arrangement, you can attach the new wires to the panel before you install it.  If you have more than one circuit to feed from each circuit breaker you just run a single wire from the panel to the terminal block, use a terminal jumper to combine two adjacent terminals, and then connect your two outgoing wires to the two terminals of the block.

If you want to get really fancy you can organize the wires on the terminal block in the same sequence they are on the panel, so if you ever lose the code that tells you which wire is which you will be able to figure it out by referring to the panel.


Ceiling lights

Another good use for terminal blocks is when installing ceiling lights. When you have an incoming wire feeding several lights you can take it to one or more terminal blocks and then use terminal jumpers to make branch wires to each light


Troubleshooting

Anywhere you have butt connectors there is a potential for a broken connection that is impossible to troubleshoot without cutting and redoing the connector. If you have to do that a few times the wire ends up too short. If you use terminal blocks the terminals are easy and accessible and troubleshooting is much quicker.

Take a look at the terminal blocks available at shop.pkys.com

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